Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Middle-Aged Moss Scientists

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Amanda and Jenn recommend short stories on audiobook, poetry collections for beginners, and more on this week’s Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by and Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam.

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Need a book recommendation? Fill out the form at the bottom of the post, or email and we’ll help!


1. I am loving the show so far! I really enjoyed the graphic novels/comics episode. I am hoping you can help me with some recommendations for something new I am getting into: Short Stories. I have a back and forth commute from work/school everyday totaling to about 1 hour. Perfect time for audiobooks! I am not at all familiar with many short stories or authors and would appreciate any help starting me out. I enjoy a wide variety of genres, but I do lean towards fantasy (and most recently creepy/horror).

Keep up the awesome work and thanks in advance!

2. School has pretty much ruined the enjoyment of poetry for me for quite some time, but I’ve really been wanting to read some more lately. However, I have absolutely no idea where to start.
I think I could especially enjoy those that bring a bit of surrealism in, as well as those about love and relationships. I do realize that this is pretty broad but I hope that you might have some great diverse poetry collections that you might be able to recommend.
Lots of bookish love!!


3. I’m looking for a book to fill the hole in my heart left by The Signature of All Things! In college I was introduced to Victorian literature (Middlemarch was a favorite) and the style of this felt similar.  I love birth-to-death narratives and feeling as if I’m in the hands of a storyteller. In TSOAL we’re treated to gorgeous, thoughtful writing and I wonder if anything we’ll ever read quite the same way! Suggestions for me?
Thank you,

4. I’m a history nerd and really love narrative nonfiction authors such as Erik Larson, Hampton Sides, Laura Hillenbrand, Timothy Egan, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Since that’s the whitest list ever, can you recommend some POC authors try? I’ve read Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow (both were great) but I don’t know where to go from here. Help please!


5. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for novels set in Mexico, preferably by Mexican authors in translation?

I recently read The Cartel by Don Winslow, and while I enjoyed it, I realized I haven’t read any books set in Mexico by a Mexican author. I really want to remedy this and furthermore think it’s important that I do so! Any recommendations you have would be most welcome.   

Love the show and Book Riot! Thanks so much,

6. My husband and I are planning to travel to South Korea in the next year, I am looking for books that take place there. I enjoy reading mysteries, thrillers, romance, science-fiction, and non-fiction. I would love a travelogue similar to Bill Bryson, or a fiction book. I usually do not read literary fiction. Some books that I have read recently that I enjoyed include: Romancing the Duke, Tricky Twenty-Two, In the Kingdom of Ice, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and Station Eleven. Do you have any recommendations?

Books Discussed!

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell Collection: Season 1

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Billy Collins

Dispatch from the Future by Leigh Stein

Life on Mars by Tracy K Smith

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

A Good American by Alex George

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi

The Faithful Scribe by Shahan Mufti

Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, J.T. Lichtenstein (Translation)

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera,  Lisa Dillman (Translation)

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, translated by Thomas and Carol Christensen

The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

The Vegetarian by Han Kang Deborah Smith (Translator)

Re Jane by Patricia Park

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin, Kim Chi-Young (Translator)

Jade Lady Burning by Martin Limon